Monday, March 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3.18.19

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

I'm celebrating National Women's Month - take a look at part 2 of picture book biographies featuring women!

Some new chapter book series for readers who are just starting to read chapters!

Picture Books

Going Down Home with Daddy
Going Down Home with Daddy
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Daniel Minter
Family traditions, family heritage, family past.
This book celebrates all of that in a beautifully told and beautifully illustrated book.  A family sets out to road trip to Granny's house where all the relatives meet up once a year to celebrate family.  All of the youngsters offer up a special tribute to family history for Granny and the rest of the family in a time honored tradition.  However, young Alan doesn't know what to create, make or do.  It's after listening to his father tell more of their history does Alan come up with an idea.
Publishes April 1st.

Maybe Tomorrow
Maybe Tomorrow?
written by Charlotte Agell
illustrated by Ana Ramírez
A quiet book about healing from grief.  This story about two unexpected friends - one who is dealing with grief, the other who is upbeat and bubbly - and how that friendship can slowly help one of them start healing.  
The book uses a large box as a metaphor for grief and it is quietly implied, readers will have some inferring to do in order to understand the meaning behind the book.
Look for this one next week - March 26th!

Bark in the Park!: Poems for Dog Lovers
Bark in the Park!  Poems for Dog Lovers
written by Avery Corman
illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Young dog lovers will love this collection of poems!  Each poem is quick, short and in rhyming format.  Readers will enjoy reading about the different dogs featured in this book.
Look for this one next week - March 26th!

by Matthew Cordell
I hope you've seen the other books in this series of books.  This one is a love letter from a grandparent to a grandchild.  I love the lion and African safari landscape and animals used to convey this beautiful message about a grandparent's hopes, dreams and words of wisdom that are passed down to a grandchild.

The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung
The Piñata That The Farm Maiden Hung
written by Samantha R. Vamos
illustrated by Sebastiá Serra
I love the colors in this book!  Using a format similar to "the house that Jack built", each page also builds Spanish vocabulary.  A glossary is also included at the end of the book.

Bear Needs Help
Bear Needs Help
by Sarah S. Brannen
This is such a cute story with a funny surprise at the end.  Bear needs help with his shoelaces, but because he is a polar bear, the other animals are afraid (legitimately so, they are lower on the food chain...) and won't help.  Finally some help arrives from an unlikely source! 

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together
Crab Cake
by Andrea Tsurumi
This book carries a message about not offloading garbage into our oceans.  
We meet many sea creatures happily living together and/or in the ocean life food chain!  And while we're meeting them, we also see crab who likes to bake cakes.  All of this comes together when a huge pile of garbage is dumped into the ocean.  Crab is able to get all of the sea creatures together by baking cakes for all to eat.  Once they are together they can form a plan.

Mary Wears What She Wants
Mary Wears What She Wants
by Keith Negley
This is the narrative story of Dr. Mary Walker, who is one of the first women known to have worn pants.  The book weaves the story of what might have happened to Mary when she decided to have worn pants.  She faced discrimination and name calling for her decision.
When I first started the story, I wondered if it was based on real events.  I was glad to have read the author's note that explained Dr. Walker's story and her many accomplishments.  
I'm glad to see the library has this catalogued as fiction.  Although based on a real woman and based on her story, the events themselves were imagined by the author.  I can see this needing to be explained to young readers.
I really love the endpages that change "boy clothes" to just "clothes"!

The Good Egg
The Good Egg
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald
Well.  It's not The Bad Seed, but readers of that one will still appreciate this book.
I really appreciate the message - it's ok to not be perfect all of the times and everyone needs some "me" time!
I thought the ending was quick.  It needed one more page to wrap it all up.
With the popularity of The Bad Seed, no doubt this one will have lots of readers!

Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish
Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish
written by Beth Ferry
illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
This story is so sweet!  I love the rules - you've probably heard or thought of them all - but they are written in such a way that makes them unique, humorous and a delight to read.  Tom Lichtenheld's illustrations are perfect for this celebratory book. 
Keep this on your gift books list - it would make such a fun book to read on a birthday!

Middle Grade

Mostly the Honest Truth
Mostly the Honest Truth
by Jody J. Little
This one took me by surprise.  With such a colorful cover, I did not expect it to carry such a powerful punch!  
Jane and Pop.  That's how it's supposed to be.  But Pop has landed himself in rehab (again) and Jane is with another foster family (again) while Pop takes the 12 mandatory days to get cleaned up.  But being out in the boonies of the interesting town of Three Boulders ends up being more home than Jane thought it ever could be.
This one will pull on your heart strings so bad, it's a book you'll want to own.  Looking forward to having this one in my class library!

The Lost Girl
The Lost Girl
by Anne Ursu
I read this one in two sittings, but I had a hard time falling into the book.  It's a story about twins who are being separated in class for the first time.  It's hard for both, perhaps even more difficult for one of them.  
The premise of that story alone is one that usually would hook me, but I had trouble caring for the twin that was mostly telling the story.  I liked the other twin more, but I thought her storyline was going to be more about mental health and then it didn't go that way.  The first 7/8 of the story was character driven, very realistic fiction, with this small thread of fantasy that would appear.  Then, the last 1/8 of the story became plot driven with a huge fantasy part, that just threw me for a loop.
I am definitely in the minority for my feelings of this book.  It's just my opinion.  I am going to put it out for our current fourth graders to read, I'm interested in seeing what kids think about this book.

Babysitting Nightmares: The Phantom Hour
Babysitting Nightmares: The Phantom Hour
by Kat Shepherd
I am such a wimp - this book, with all of the visualizations it gave me... yeah, had to read it in the daylight!
This time the four girls find themselves closing a portal to the Nightmare Realm, yet a ghostly appearance keeps coming at a home that one of them is babysitting at... With the help of a new friend, they all team up together to make sure another babysitting client is phantom free!
Perfect series for those kids who like a little scare in their stories!

Revenge of the EngiNerds
Revenge of the EngiNerds
by Jarrett Lerner
The EngiNerds are back, and this time there is a girl trying to infiltrate their group!  But Ken won't allow her amazing and fun gadgets win them over.... or will they?  While trying to capture a robot and piece together a mystery that may be out of this world, the EngiNerds have to fight to remain a team or they'll never accomplish their goals!
Another fun read for kids!

Currently Reading

The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
by Rebecca Ansari
Definitely a fantasy storyline!  I am really looking forward in seeing how all of the threads weave together!

It's Spring Break time in the midwest so I'll be taking next week off from blogging while I spend time with family.  Hopefully we're all starting to get a touch of spring outside!


  1. I'm intrigued by The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly. I've heard some good things about it and look forward to hearing your thoughts. Enjoy spring break!

  2. Lots to love here, Michele. I definitely will look for Going Down Home With Daddy, sounds nice. A family story of mine connects to Mary Wears What She Wants. I was told that my grandmother made the town talk when she rode her horse wearing pants & astride! No sidesaddle for her! We loved thinking of her making waves in what seemed a little thing to us. Also, I agree about The Lost Girl, struggled with it, so you arent' alone! Thanks for all!

  3. I just ordered Hope and Bear Needs Help from the library. These have been on my To Read list, but somehow I missed them when they came out. Thanks for sharing and have a terrific week!

  4. I'm excite to read a number of these books, including Mary Wears What She Wants, Mostly the Honest Truth, Revenge of the EngiNerds, and The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly. While I got into The Lost Girl from the beginning, you are not alone in being thrown in the final 1/8 of the book. I've not heard anyone else voice this criticism and, after reading many other reviews, I just quietly chalked it up to being the fact that I wasn't familiar with Anne Ursu's works (full of surprise fantasy elements). I also identified more closely with Lark. And oh no! When you said The Good Egg isn't The Bad Seed, I hope that's not bad news. I loved the message of The Bad Seed and am excited to read The Good Egg. I hope it's not a let down. Have a wonderful reading week, Michele!

  5. Oh, I forgot I read The Good Egg this week! I thought it was cute. My kids really, really liked it. I think the silly faces on the eggs really caught their attention.

    I actually hadn't seen Hope, so I am so glad that you shared it. Thanks, friend. I hope you are doing well. Sorry I have been out of commission for a couple of weeks.

  6. Mostly the Honest Truth looks interesting. I'll pass on Babysitting Nightmares since I can't even read scary stuff in the middle of the day. Going Down Home with Daddy is one I'll really be looking forward to reading.

  7. I am getting ready to start the 1st Babysitting Nightmares book. I am even more excited now that you say that it really is creepy. Sometimes middle grade doesn't go as creepy as it could so I'm intrigued!

  8. We're having a bookstore event with Jody Little next month. Can't wait.

  9. The Good Seed! I remember enjoying The Bad Seed - now I want to find this one, stat! :)